We usually associate Android with Google, and that's perfectly fine. Android is an open source OS that can be freely modified and used by just anyone willing to do so, but having the proprietary Google apps and services, the pushing force behind the OS, is a trickier business. Manufacturers need to pay Google before they can be use its "Gapps" (publicly accepted acronym for "Google's apps and services") package.
Thus, if your Android device does not come with Gapps out of the box, you have to look for an alternative way around.
That's why F-Droid is one of the important stops for those willing to take a break from Google's otherwise-pleasant dominance on Android. We already showed you how to install it on your phone, but in case you've missed it, here's a quick recap: visit this link and download the installer for the app, which enables you to download numerous handy apps and keep them up-to-date as updates roll in.
Here are some neat apps that you can get on F-Droid:
This lightweight Material messaging app is an open-source alternative to Google's stock Messenger, but with a small pinch of customization added. Apart from sending texts, which is the app's reason for existence, it also allows you to customize the color scheme and the background color, set an automatic night mode appearance, adjust the font, change the notification LED color for incoming texts, and many, many other useful additions. Definitely a must-try app.
Video LAN Client (more popularly known as VLC) for Android has long been one of the more popular video players for the platform. It supports an impressive array of video and audio formats, like MKV, MP4, AVI, MOV, Ogg, FLAC, TS, M2TS, Wv, AAC, and others. Native support for multi-track audio and subtitles is on board, making VLC a media powerhouse.
Lightweight and open source, what more could one ask for? The app relies on a clean design but does skimps neither in the performance, nor the feature department. The WebKit-based browser comes with a handful of UI modes (Dark Mode, Light Mode, Color Mode, Night Mode, etc.), fullscreen browsing mode, various search engines, reading mode, and most importantly, open source. A paid version with even more features on board is also available on Google Play.
Download on F-Droid
Etar is a Material Design calendar that is by no means inferior to Google Calendar or any other calendar apps available for Android. It has a couple of views available - day, week, month, and agenda; it also comes with customizable notifications, quick responses, and different settings for the available calendar settings.
Pardon the awful pun, but Amaze is amazing! This open-source file manager has all the bells and whistles needed to be one of the top apps in its category. The UI is a sight to behold, as it's employing Material Design to the letter. In the feature department, Amaze does not only offer basic features like cut, copy, delete, compress, extract, but more advanced ones are also present - work on multiple tabs at the same time, SMB file sharing, and others. Root features are also present, and so is a built-in app manager.
This lightweight feed reader is available on both F-Droid and Google Play. What do you get by installing the app? Well, for starters, it supports offline reading, import/exporting OPML feed lists, article starring, custom widgets, and two UI themes (black and white).